Where does the charity sector find itself? A recent report by Centre for Social Impact UNSW and Social Ventures Australia has identified six findings which will assist the charity sector as we all manage our response to and recovery from the COVID19 pandemic.

Three of these are:

  • Agility is a protective factor – the Foundation has funded many charities that have demonstrated an ability to quickly respond quickly to changing and increasing community needs.
  • A crisis creates opportunities – many charities have designed new ways of working that caters for remote service delivery, often leading to an even wider impact.
  • Organisational capability needs to be strengthened – increasing digital capability, financial management, and giving voice to vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19 have been hallmarks of recent support provided by the Foundation.

While the economy has rebounded well so far, there remain many people facing an uncertain employment and financial future, especially women. We are monitoring this situation closely.

However, crisis creates opportunities and the Foundation has set some special initiatives and projects that will help us increase community resilience, find new job opportunities, and continue to work on climate change and homelessness.

Our new Next Economy Jobs Initiative is part of this response. There are many opportunities for new jobs that will be needed in the care economy, sustainable food industry, affordable housing construction, and in clean technology. We will be inviting expressions of interest for grants under this Initiative in a few months. The Clean Technology Powerhouse Initiative is also continuing and expanding.

Climate Resilience in the West will take a place based, collaborative approach to helping communities prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change in the West of Melbourne The heatwave and vulnerable communities work, Hot Spots, already underway in Dandenong, Inner Melbourne public housing and Brimbank will be extended to new sites.

Another round of the Affordable Housing Challenge will be run in the coming year, activating more underutilised land. As some of you would know, we won the Philanthropy Australia Better Philanthropy Award for the first Affordable Housing Challenge, which is building 40 units in Preston on local government land, on a long term lease to Housing Choices Australia.

While viewing our website, you will see many examples of charity innovation. This week more than $2 million in grants for our Innovation Scaling Up grants will be presented to our Board.

While we are all having to adapt uncertain times, the level of creative, solutions focused thinking going on in the charity sector is inspiring.

Dr Catherine Brown OAM
Chief Executive Officer


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